What Hurricane Matthew? Charleston Golf Courses Come through Hurricane Virtually Unscathed

By:Bob Gillespie

Date:11/30/2016

Golf courses in the Charleston area fared remarkably well during Hurricane Matthew, with almost all of them reopening within a few days of the storm.


Kiawah Island's signature beauty Ocean Course was virtually untouched, and the courses at Wild Dunes only had mild flooding and a few downed trees.


While The Plantation Course on Edisto Island remains in recovery, everyone else in the region is open and loving the unseasonably warm weather.


"We were remarkably fortunate we didn’t have any damage—and if there was a tree down, it was a month ago and that’s gone," said Perrin Lawson, Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau spokesman. With one day of rain in nearly a month, Lawson said “the weather has been absolutely perfect since the hurricane.”


As a result, Charleston’s fall golf season is booming, Lawson said. “Everyone was open, basically, once the weekend was over,” he said. “Only one (other) course, which had some trees down, was closed a week and a half. The rest were open, literally, the next day.”


That course, Charleston Municipal on James Island, was partially flooded. “We had a couple of uprooted hickory trees at the first and second holes,” General Manager Marshall Ormand said. “Once we got those out of the way, everything dried up pretty fast.”


The dry, clear weather helped with cleanup across the area. “We had some debris and three trees down,” said Jeff Minton, head professional at Wild Dunes. “We stayed closed Saturday (when the hurricane hit), Sunday and Monday, and even with debris, the [Links and Harbor] courses were playable. And we got nothing from the tides.”


The Links Course’s par-3 18th hole, once a par-5, had water on the former fairway but no erosion, Minton said. “We got a lot of rain and had some standing water for a few days, but it hasn’t rained since. This has been the best November, weather-wise, in years,” he said.


Lawson said Edisto Island, about an hour southwest of Charleston and home to the Plantation Course, remains in recovery mode. Otherwise, “there’s probably never been a better time to play golf in Charleston than right now,” he said. “The temperatures are even a little nicer than usual this time of year.”


Visitors are proof of that. “If business was down, [course owners] would be calling us,” Lawson said. “We haven’t heard a word from anyone, other than, ‘business is good.’”


Lawson said some social media showed photos from immediately after the hurricane. “The answer is, dig a little deeper,” he advised out-of-state golfers headed to Charleston. “My suggestion is, don’t accept [reports of damage] at face value. Find out what’s true.”


And the truth is, Charleston golf is just fine.


For more information, visit CharlestonGolfGuide.com, or call (843) 774-4444.

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